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Thread: Drum scanning problems - please help !

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    Member pozzello's Avatar
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    Drum scanning problems - please help !

    Hi group. My latest project involves shooting medium format rollfilm (6x6
    Rollei Pan 25) and drum scanning at 5300dpi to make 40" inkjet prints.

    Last week I had a service bureau scan one of my 6x6 rollfilm black and white
    negatives with a Heidelberg Premier D7100. I don't have much experience with
    drum scanning but my impression is that this particular scan is terrible. The
    negative is tack sharp: Rollei Pan 25 shot on a Hasselblad SWC/M using a tripod
    and shutter release cable, no wind, 1/125 exposure. My goal is to make 40"
    prints and the negative was scanned for 41 inches at 329 dpi (image dimensions
    are 13549 x 13680)

    The scan has way too much "grain" noise, but I'm not even sure it's grain.
    Looking at the negative under a microscope the grain is much finer than some of
    the detail that wasn't even recorded in the scan. The scan also looks like it
    has some motion blur, as if the negative had moved on the drum - is that
    possible ?

    For fun I tried scanning it on my old Epson flatbed and the image actually seems
    better (no blur, similar detail, but poorer DR) which doesn't make any sense to
    me.

    When I look at the negative on my lightbox with a 15X loop it is extremely
    sharp, barely perceptible grain, and I can see much more detail than on the drum
    scan. What type of result should I be expecting ?

    I've included some 100% crops from the center of the image, one from the service
    bureau, the other from my old Epson 3170 flatbed.


    http://www.monosujet.com/Images/HeidelbergD7100.jpg
    http://www.monosujet.com/Images/epson.jpg


    Paul

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    It certainly appears that the lab owes you a make good. Just cursory look indicates the overall thickness of some limbs and vertical lines in your scan are narrower than the same locations in the drum scan. I would return with your film and firmly request they compare your film on a light table with their scan. My opinion is they simply did a bad scan and your film certainly slipped during the scan.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    I went back to the lab on my lunch hour to try to figure things out. I was polite and told them about the problem. They said that these types of scanners are old, so I asked when the last time they were serviced and calibrated, and the discussion immediately turned to my negative being the problem, that they have been in business 20 years and never had a complaint about their scans, that my negative must be out of focus. I told him I had looked at the negative under a microscope up to 40X and it was extremely sharp and detailed, that I had the negative with me and would like to discuss the issue with the owner because I thought there was a good chance there was a problem with their scanner. The owner was 'busy' in a meeting and unavailable and not wanting to argue when there is nothing to argue about I asked for a refund.

    20 minutes and 6 phone calls later, the bank told them they weren't authorized to do returns on debit cards. The clerk went to talk to the owner, who came out and walked right by me without making eye contact or saying a word and gave her the cash.


    Paul



    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Wood View Post
    It certainly appears that the lab owes you a make good. Just cursory look indicates the overall thickness of some limbs and vertical lines in your scan are narrower than the same locations in the drum scan. I would return with your film and firmly request they compare your film on a light table with their scan. My opinion is they simply did a bad scan and your film certainly slipped during the scan.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    What lab was that and where are you located? I've had good experience in the past with West Coast Imaging in California and Photo Craft in Boulder, Colorado. If you use Photo Craft, call and make sure they are doing the scans in house and not sending them down the road to Reed.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    What lab was that and where are you located? I've had good experience in the past with West Coast Imaging in California and Photo Craft in Boulder, Colorado. If you use Photo Craft, call and make sure they are doing the scans in house and not sending them down the road to Reed.
    I'm in Montreal....

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    I second the recommendation for West Coast Imaging. I have had many scans done there and all are excellent. They have a Tango drum scanner and know how to use it. I agree with your assessment of the scans you posted. I could do better with a Nikon 8000.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    To me, the drum scan looks like it is WAY over sharpened, causing what should be minute signs of camera vibration to look horrific. The highlights also look to be clipped. Honestly, it's nearly impossible to find a lab that can actually work drum scanners these days. The best or most consistent bet is to find a lab that uses a Flextight 949 / X5 and get them to output 3F files for you to work up yourself. It's not going to give you 300dpi at 40" wide, but in my experience – I print regularly at 48x60" – the results are beyond acceptable.

    I've personally never gotten the chance to get hands on with a drum scanner, but I know from experience of getting the same lab to scan the same negative four times (I ran a little covert experiment) things like grain aliasing, sharpening, tonal range and not to mention colour varied dramatically between all versions. Each scan was given to me as 16bit per channel tiff files, but once something is clipped or over sharpened things are never going to get any better.

    Someone like Tim Parkin might be able to diagnose what is happening with your scan in a more informed way than me, but I think it's down to scanner aperture / resolution, sharpening and tonal clipping.

    It's consistent problems such as this that forced me to track down and buy an Imacon 949. Fingers crossed, it's scheduled to arrive by courier tomorrow...

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    Thanks for the recommendations. I recently got in touch with Lenny Eiger from Eiger Studios (recommended to me by several people on the Scan hi end yahoo group) and i couldn't' be happier with the results.

    I've updated my original comparison to include the scan from Eiger. Each one is 100% 8x10 crop of a 40"x40" scan of a 6cm x 6cm black and white negative.

    http://www.paulozzello.com/scans/epson.jpg
    http://www.paulozzello.com/scans/HeidelbergD7100.jpg
    http://www.paulozzello.com/scans/eiger.jpg

    And the full image:

    http://www.paulozzello.com/images/slider/square.jpg (from my epson)

    I can't wait to get them printed !!

    Paul
    website: http://www.paulozzello.com
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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    Quote Originally Posted by pozzello View Post
    Thanks for the recommendations. I recently got in touch with Lenny Eiger from Eiger Studios (recommended to me by several people on the Scan hi end yahoo group) and i couldn't' be happier with the results.

    I've updated my original comparison to include the scan from Eiger. Each one is 100% 8x10 crop of a 40"x40" scan of a 6cm x 6cm black and white negative.

    http://www.paulozzello.com/scans/epson.jpg
    http://www.paulozzello.com/scans/HeidelbergD7100.jpg
    http://www.paulozzello.com/scans/eiger.jpg

    And the full image:

    http://www.paulozzello.com/images/slider/square.jpg (from my epson)

    I can't wait to get them printed !!

    Paul
    WOW, that scan from Eiger blows away both the Heidelberg and Epson out of water, i want to buy that scanner.
    Tareq

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    Yep Lenny knows his stuff.

    EDIT: The Heidelberg scan looks like a too small aperture was used. On top of that, the scanner is out of focus.
    These are likely operator errors - focus and aperture is drumscanning 101.

    Lenny's scan looks like what I get out of my Howtek when I use it correctly.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    One of the problems with the Heidelberg scan is that it actually looks like the scanner got bumped during the scan. In addition, they used a very high level of overall sharpening, which since there is no local control of sharpening, drastically oversharpened the grain in areas of no detail. In addition, the contrast sucks and the endpoints were never set correctly. Another huge problem with the Heidelberg that you would never know unless you know about those scanners, is that the minimum aperture is right around 10 microns, meaning that no matter what you set in hardware resolution, you'll never get much more than a real 2500 dpi. The rest is stepper motor (or the equivalent in that scanner) and interpolation. It's highly doubtful that too small an aperture was used as there isn't one too small to be found on that scanner.

    There are a lot (well, maybe not a lot) of us out there who own drum scanners, know how to use them and do our own scans and for others, even if we don't necessarily advertise it.

    The Howtek (Aztek) scanners are among the best available when they're working properly. Their limitations are generally in production speed and drum size, not image quality.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    I want to buy Lenny

    My point didn't come across as intended. I was pointing to operator error and not criticizing the Heidelberg scanner which in good hands I'm sure is capable of producing very good scans. I don't like bashing companies but it's pretty obvious Photosynthèse in Montreal knows very little about drum scanning. Worst yet was their lack of interest in finding out what the problem was and telling me the issue was with the negative.


    Quote Originally Posted by Professional View Post
    WOW, that scan from Eiger blows away both the Heidelberg and Epson out of water, i want to buy that scanner.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    It's both operator error AND a hardware limitation combined with old school arrogance. Seriously, how the hell did the Heidelberg operator look at that crap and think it was okay. I'd have asked if he or she would have accepted that as a quality scan. I might also swing by there and show them your new scan. What clowns.

    Question: Was your Lenny scan provided in Dot Gain 20 Percent space? Unless you're going to offset, and even if you are, probably not the best choice. Much better to either use Gamma 2.2 Grayscale or straight up Adobe RGB with all three channels being neutral - even better when inkjet printing.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    Lenny does an excellent job. I use his services for my large format scans. Hopefully, you were reimbursed by the original lab.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    Quote Originally Posted by pfigen View Post
    One of the problems with the Heidelberg scan is that it actually looks like the scanner got bumped during the scan. In addition, they used a very high level of overall sharpening, which since there is no local control of sharpening, drastically oversharpened the grain in areas of no detail. In addition, the contrast sucks and the endpoints were never set correctly. Another huge problem with the Heidelberg that you would never know unless you know about those scanners, is that the minimum aperture is right around 10 microns, meaning that no matter what you set in hardware resolution, you'll never get much more than a real 2500 dpi. The rest is stepper motor (or the equivalent in that scanner) and interpolation. It's highly doubtful that too small an aperture was used as there isn't one too small to be found on that scanner.

    There are a lot (well, maybe not a lot) of us out there who own drum scanners, know how to use them and do our own scans and for others, even if we don't necessarily advertise it.

    The Howtek (Aztek) scanners are among the best available when they're working properly. Their limitations are generally in production speed and drum size, not image quality.
    I own both Heidelberg and Howtek scanners and can assure you that a 10 micron aperture doesn't limit you to 2500dpi. My Primescan D7200 can get about 5000 optical.

    Interestingly in testing aperture between me and Lenny the best results were at around 10micron. The only reason for a finer aperture is for litho/microfiche style films or techpan/Adox CMS.

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    Re: Drum scanning problems - please help !

    hi everyone, im new here, I've seen Lenny Eiger is a great scanner of film, I've also heard
    Castor scan in italy is excellent, my problem is , im in Australia, anyone know anyone in Oz who is good at scanning and has either the Howtech or an ICG or similar brilliant film scanner
    thank
    greg

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